"Just Talk"

It’s encouraging and usually productive when people call me to talk about WEB and how it may be helpful to their cause. New brewery starting, need ideas for the plan, how to market beer to women, and so forth.

p1030958So I just want to clarify something today.

It’s not ‘just talk’ that consultants such as myself offer. Answers someone asks for comes from real effort put forth to obtain that information. Talk is not cheap nor is it free just like brewing equipment isn’t cheap or free.

That talk comes from hours planning, soliciting, gathering, synthesizing, compiling, extrapolating, and in general interpreting information. It’s a big investment of time and professional effort.

It’s way more that just talk. It’s actionable information.

I received one such call along these lines just this week. So here’s a part of the follow up email I sent.

“WEB partners to innovatively garner market share of women (and men along the way) by authentically and accurately applying specific knowledge gathered from focus groups, events, etc. to your particular plans and goals based on solid information. That knowledge is what you pay for; it’s a product just as bright tanks are for holding beer.

Partnerships can involve a number of methods of applying and utilizing the information for direct benefit. It’s an investment of information and effort transferred into results. Generally, like any well developed marketing campaign it’s a mapped out plan, proving effective over time.”

I hope this is helpful. Call me when you want to turn effort into action. Thanks.

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Beer And Dessert

Larry with 3 desserts and a few beers

Larry with 3 desserts and a few beers

So, we were at a Rehoboth, Delaware place this past week. Thought we’d drop by to enjoy some beers and eats.

And enjoy we did.

Chilly day, not a whole lot going on, random Sunday Funday.

To some this is a holy grail of sorts. the great thing is that everyone is just that. Everyone. Common folks making an uncommon (and off centered) difference in the beer landscape.

Laura, our very competent and fun server, didn’t even balk or smirk when we ordered 3 desserts. Heck! With a whole line up of beers to try, why only have one dessert. They were all different as were the beers. All the better to pair and taste, my dear.

Be sure to remember that beer and dessert pair very well together. Sometimes obviously so, sometimes subversively so.

The key is in the trying. Try, try again…

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Hmmm…not sure what to make of this.

p1020711On one hand, it’s most likely potentially helpful for the female market share who want help. And good for anyone who reaches out for help.

The other reaction is it’s tragic that it has to be a segment that is addressed differently.

I’m not being hypocritical. Women Enjoying Beer is about opportunity for a market share to be developed, incidentally gender as that market share. It could be any number of segments that have been underserved, ill served, or flat out not served, ignored, or neglected. It happens to be the 50.9% of the population that is female.

Think that last one is how I’m feeling about this site.

Jody DeVere, the CEO of the organization, tells us in her video clip that the role of women is changing. I would challenge that with the fact that women have always held a strong influential role – directly or indirectly – in making purchases, throughout the ages. (Just like in most of the non-westernized world, women are the brewers) So the recent ‘change’ is not necessarily so. What may be is that the female market share is being approached in a different way. Many businesses finally realizing that women can have an enormous impact on their bottom line. So they want a piece of that pie.

As many may know the car industry has long earned its way to the bottom of the list for dealing with female customers.

Let’s work together to make sure the beer community is at the top of the list.

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The Issue Is Not Gender

It’s opportunity. It’s beer equality.

If anyone thinks Women Enjoying Beer is sexist (like the comment from SirRon ala this post), I’d invite you to consider the following quote by Anna Quindlen.

“The perception was that the fight for equality was a war against men. But the battle was really against waste, the waste of talent, the waste to society, the waste of women who had certain gifts and goals and had to suppress both. The point was not to take over male terrain but to change it because it badly needed changing.”

Change is what we’re after here. Clear, sustainable, positive change.

Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe Arizona

Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe Arizona

After all, with 50.9% of the population being female, you’d be missing a the point of it being a huge opportunity.

Like an accomplished well respected brewer stated as well, if half the population is female and your organization does not reflect that, there’s an imbalance. Said another way, why would it be any other way but representative of the population?

Foster, encourage, educate, hire, entice, support, mentor, act.

Lots of women who talk to me tell me they are interested in getting into the beer business; they have no idea of how to go about it though. Why is that?

Women can certainly reach out more, ask more, inquire more.

And the beer community can do much more to find out why and change it to create a better gender balance. Another reason to consider actively pursuing this kind of goal is that the two genders have different and complementary skills. Round out a team by filling the ranks with adept and competent women and men.

In the bigger scheme of things, it helps society as a whole as well. And we all benefit from that, beer or no beer.

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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

More great Grand Teton Beers

More great Grand Teton Beers

Have you had yourself some absolutely yummy Grand Teton Black Cauldron Imperial Stout yet?

The fine folks at Grand Teton sent me a bottle (via a friend since I’m on the road). She was so excited to get it – and a huge lover of chocolate – that she tore into it and immediately was ‘mmmmmmmimg’ at its lux taste.

What a great way to introduce “I’m not really a beer drinker” friends to some incredible beers. It’s a very good suggestion for those who also claim they don’t “like” beer and drink full bodied wines (think ports).

And while my tastebuds are going to encounter it soon, knowing my friend and that we love similar flavors, I can bet money that I’ll love it. Can’t wait.

Here’s a great list of more full flavored beer suggestions.

Thanks to Pete, Rob, & Emily – many cheers!

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Say What (exactly)?

This article seems to go nowhere. Not sure what to even extrapolate…

Were way too many non connected questions asked of the survey participants? Were participants qualified? And to what end?

Craft beer is so minutely represented here (and then mass grouped) that I find it hard to believe this article holds any credibility.

Plus having done research on women and beer (which is continually ongoing) I find the gender inferences both ways, comments or sometimes blatant disregard staggering and sadly uneducated.

When you talk to a population about anything, you have to be more specific, hone in, not run all over the map. Information with no quantification is rather unusable.

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Thanks Ronnie!

Me before an educational event at Snake River Brewing - thanks Chris!

Me before an educational event at Snake River Brewing - thanks Chris!

A big shout out of thanks to Ronnie for generating some great conversation ala his blog. Read it here.

Clearly, some of the readers who commented get it. Clearly others do not. I’ll chime in in a few days…after more conversation has been had.

For the moment:

  • 1. What I’m accomplishing is authentically and accurately helping develop a market share for an intelligent market who is receptive and listening.
  • 2. If you read my blog at all, you know WEB is not about gender when it all boils down. If you’re getting that out of it, you should reread posts and pages. Do you criticize out Rick Lyke for marketing beer to men for his purpose??
  • 3. Conversation is the key to progress. I for one love the conversation that has been generated so far. Keep it coming!

Thanks Ronnie – see you Houston soon for a beer to two.

One comment

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Is this right?

5% – seriously?? How can that really be appropriate?

It took me by surprise and I find it disturbing. And misleading. And inaccurate. And incorrect.

5% is still 5%. Without it, 95% is not 100%.

The public should demand 100% accuracy in this case.

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Miss/Information and Ass/Umptions

This kind of quote scares me. It’s a perfect example of someone being totally off base.

I’m not saying opinions are invalid – yet uninformed or ill informed or prejudgment type statements are dicey at best.

How did the Faust’s  come to that conclusion (last line of the article)?

  • Did they actually ask a cross section of women?
  • Did they make this erroneous assumption themselves based on what they think women want?

It’s always disappointing to read or hear ignorantly stereotypical, uninformed statements.

One interpretation is that this Mr. Faust (and Ms. Faust?) sees most women at his winery drinking wine. Well…kind of goes to follow that that would be a case, yes? I would venture a guess most men visiting his winery would also drink the wine. Just like most people visiting breweries drink the beer.

I can help correct this incorrect mindset (and therefore increase your business) with a focus group execution of their specific market share, locals and supports who would (I guarantee) change his mind.

As an aside, Kim of Nebraska Brewing was at my session at the CBC this past spring so I know she knows that women do in fact enjoy beer.

Open your mind to the other 50.9% of the population (and business) and you’ll be richly rewarded.

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Myth Busting

Good article to read when trying to bust the myth of beer being unhealthy. So is zucchini in great quantities.

Here’s another. And another. And another.

Quantity and frequency are the key – to darn near everything. Moderation, savoring, enjoying, taking your time.

It would seem to be that anything is excess is, well, excessive and therefore not good.

I just wonder why, if the article is about ‘older’ women, they chose a younger women for the picture?

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What 'They' Know

How did you acquire the knowledge you have?

Think about how customers get the knowledge they have – after all, they’re quite human just like you (and of course me). And we all started at square one.

Respect that people may not know all that you’d like them to. What they know is what they’ve experienced.

Therein lies the golden diplomatic educational opportunity.

And that most certainly is valid. Make sure you build up, not tear down per your own preferences and opinions.

Like I’ve said before, be a geek not a snob.

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Pay attention to the customers’ frame of reference, not yours.

Not your industry lingo, jargon, speak or vocabulary.

heineken-customer-service-cakeSpeak customer – that does not mean dumb it down. Your customers aren’t stupid. It means stepping outside of yourself and simultaneously your industry language to dialogue with the customer.

The first step in successfully inviting the customer to join you in enjoying and understanding your beer is to make sure they feel like you two are on the same (grammar) page. Alienation with jargon is easy – and easy to avoid.

Careful. Like Mike says, become a student of your customer.

Industry speak is one of the easiest ways to turn people off and turn them away. Yes, you’re passionate about your beer – stay that way. Be a geek, not a snob.

But you’re not your customer. Pay attention to them, not you.

Familiarity breeds alignment.

It’s easy to do. So do it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by craftyconfections

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Listen To The Market Share (#2 of Series)

You know what I love about kids? They don’t have what my friend Mike Wagner calls a crap filter. Indeed. Ask them a question and generally you get a straight forward answer.

Point today – ask your market segment directly you are after for their input, opinions, and insights. Don’t ask someone else who THINKS they know what that other person is invariably thinking. Regardless how well one person knows another, they are still not that person.

The same thing has happened in traditionally marketing beers. Some companies still think they know what the female consumer wants. Pray tell – how do they come to this conclusion??

Focus group participants let it rip – they tell me point blank they have no idea why companies simply do not ask them.

Who out there has a regular focus group program? Set up to listen (not just hear or assume they are listening) to their female patrons to find out what they really want, what they really like?

If you do not have an ongoing market development segment of your business there are lots of ways to go about it.

  1. Partner with other companies in the same industry. Craft brewers are a great example of an industry that wants to help the whole. Go with that comraderie. Share costs.
  2. Work with your female patrons – ask them what they like, what they don’t like, why and follow all sorts of thinking trails to get this information. Then act on it.
  3. Hire a facilitator, a moderator that knows how to get the best information for you to grow and develop your business. I guarantee you it will be well worth the time, effort and investment. And it is an investment – you will get it back in $$.

Listen to the market share.

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Know Thy Market (#1 of Series)

This may seem like stating the over obvious. However I wouldn’t be specializing in marketing beer to women if there weren’t a need.

Knowing the market you are after, BEFORE you introduce your product to market, is a true basic of marketing. Like the word (marketing ) or not, it’s what you are doing – trying to sell something to the market that will buy your goods.

  • Did you spend time on the front end, prior to opening your brewery, in deciding and identifying your market?
  • If so, what is that market share?
  • Do you pursue them accurately and authentically?

If you answered yes, please continue to read for enjoyment and reinforcement.

If you said no to any one of these inquiries, keep reading. You must know your market – it cannot be incidental – to survive and thrive. To make beer just because you love beer  – if you are hoping to make it a successful business – is foolish (unless you’re independently wealthy).

Women tell me over and over in focus groups they feel like (most) beer companies aren’t even trying to reach them. T & A of days past, too young ‘girl’ type females, and all the surrounding traditional advertising is not applicable. Why should a segment (women) listen when they aren’t even trying to be accurately reached?

Be passionate by all means. Be smart about knowing your market. Market research is pretty straight forward stuff. Hire the right person to help you develop and address it properly. it

Know Thy Market.

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Glaring Omission

You tell me what’s missing from what would otherwise be a clever and well done video.

Hell (yes, this pisses me off), Sam’s in it and his wife is his partner.

I KNOW there hundreds of non-represented people per this video…It flabbergasts and appalls me.

ESPECIALLY since in the video they say there are approximately 750,000 home brewers. 3 quarters of a million people for hop’s sake – did it occur to anyone that there is more than one sex?? Obviously not.

ESPECIALLY since it states in the video “men & women craft brewers”…

How about Susan Ruud? Or all the others like Jennifer Helber (Lab Science Etc.), my friend Jen, Canadians, and those in the Iowa Brewers Guild??

This is why stereotypes, inaccurate ones at that, perpetuate.

Who, in the production of this video, missed it??

“A fat lot of crap” is right. Geez.

If you have any females in your life that matter to you at all, you are grossly remiss in thinking about the other 50(.9)% of the population.

A small percentage will only grow when they are given representation and the opportunity to grow.

Pay attention.

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It's "Women" & "Female", Not "Ladies"

One immediately recognizable constant in the work I do is that women tell me they do not like being called Ladies. It’s old fashioned (in a not so good

What not to do

What not to do

way), fuddy-duddy, feels like a cheezy bar is advertising to get men who’ll troll if they host a “ladies night”.

So don’t do it.

Use Women and/or Females. Not girls (underage, under 12, infantile, condescending), not broads (harsh, cheap), not babes (do I even have to say why??).

Women, Females is accurate – appropriate age connoted, respectful, universal, not insulting to anyone.

Simply relate it to the important females in your life – whether you’re a female or a male. Would you treat them with disrespect? If the answer is no, then turn it about when you advertise and market.

This is really important – pay attention.

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The Conundrum With The Word 'Craft'

‘Craft’ as it pertains to beer means nothing to any beer drinkers.

Let me fill that thought out a bit.

First remember – I am a huge enthusiast. I’m also not the one you need to convince to drink beer, craft or otherwise. (drop any expert mentality here too please)

Calling your beers ‘Craft’ beers  means nothing to most peo0ple; certainly most of the women I have talked  to not in the industry. Sure, some have a vague idea of what it may infer. Most have no clue as to what it specifically means.

So what does that mean for craft brewers? It screams of opportunity.

So here is a HUGE educational opportunity. Educate your consumers, your supporters, your patrons on what Craft Beer means to you – if you promote your beers as craft.

Keep in mind most things that are made period are crafted in some fashion. (between the lines = don’t tear something else down to build your goods up)

Don’t be a snob, be a geek. Getting women to drink beer altogether is progress. Getting them to learn what craft beer is – is next and then go from there.

Over and over and over in focus groups I conduct women have no real idea of what the craft label means – it is primarily an industry and existing enthusiast/beer geek term. Fine – just make sure you are sharing the definition liberally and non condescendingly.

Here are some definitions brought to us by the Brewers Association.

When people understand the definition of a word, then they will choose embrace or not. Regardless, you have educated people and they will be better off for it. Everyone will be better off for it.

It’s easy to do – have servers offer a fun easy-to-understand definition, post a sign (Craft beer = …), play a game with consumer to get their definition and then come together on it.

Define, explain, check for comprehension, deliver.

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